Brigadier Lofty Hayward, New Zealand's Defence Attaché in London, standing next to the VC commemorative stones, with the Armed Forces Memorial in the background (Photo: courtesy of National Memorial Arboretum)

Britain pays tribute to First World War Victoria Cross winners from overseas

Posted on centenarynews.com on 04 March 2015
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First World War holders of the Victoria Cross born overseas are remembered on 145 commemorative paving stones, unveiled at the UK's National Memorial Arboretum. Peter Alhadeff reports.

Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to those who'd won Britain's highest award for gallantry in battle.

Speaking at the ceremony, he said: "Today we write the names of these Victoria Cross winners into the soil of our land. A century may have passed since these extraordinary acts but the courage of these men remains as humbling and inspiring today as it was back then.

"It is absolutely right that here in our National Memorial Arboretum where so many acts of courage are commemorated these paving stones should provide a permanent memorial to heroes from 19 different countries around the Commonwealth whose bravery and service won them the Victoria Cross". 

A stone commemorating Darwan Sing Negi VC, decorated for his actions while serving with the colonial Indian Army near Festubert in France (Photo: courtesy of UK Government)

A total of 628 VCs were won during the First World War, of which 145 were awarded to servicemen who fought for Britain, but were born abroad.

In addition to the Commonwealth, the overseas recipients included men born in continental Europe, the United States, and Nepal. 

The project at the National Memorial Arboretum, near the cathedral city of Lichfield, complements the British Government's remembrance of Victoria Cross recipients from the UK. 

During the 2014-18 Centenary, 469 stones will being laid in communities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland where holders of the VC were born or lived. 

35 VC recipients are being commemorated in the Republic of Ireland, which lay within the UK during the First World War.

Britain's Foreign & Commonwealth Office is also placing commemorative plaques in countries around the world to commemorate men born overseas who received the Victoria Cross.

Selected VC biographies can be found here

Dates of forthcoming ceremonies in the UK and Ireland are available here.They take place on, or close, to the 100th anniversary of the VC being awarded. 

Source: UK Government

Images courtesy of National Memorial Arboretum and UK Government (Department for  Communities & Local Government)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News